Neil Young – Impeach the President

Neil Young is set to release an album of war protest songs, including a song entitled, “Impeach the President.”

Neil Young Peace Sign It started as a rumour – gossip shared by fans on internet chat sites. Could it true, they asked? Could Neil Young, a cultural lodestone for a generation of country rock fans, really be turning his attention to President George Bush and the war in Iraq? Now Young himself has confirmed it. Not only has he recorded an entire album about the conflict, but in one of the songs he spells out who he thinks is to blame for the ongoing chaos and violence and what the consequences for that person should be. That track is called “Impeach the President”.

“I just finished a new record – a power trio with trumpet and 100 voices,” the 60-year-old says in a ticker-tape message posted at the bottom of his official website. “Metal folk protest? It’s called Living with the War.”

Further details about the album came from Jonathan Demme, the film maker who produced the recently released documentary Heart of Gold about the singer-songwriter. “Neil just finished writing and recording – with no warning – a new album called Living With War,” he told the music magazine Harp by e-mail. “It all happened in three days … It is a brilliant electric assault, accompanied by a 100-voice choir, on Bush and the war in Iraq … Truly mind blowing. Will be in stores soon.”

Those who have followed Young’s twisting career, stretching over more than four decades – from the psychedelia-tinged rock of the folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield in the Sixties, his joining up with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, his huge solo success in 1972 with Harvest, as well as the experimentation of the Eighties and finally his return to country rock – may be a little surprised by Young’s decision to launch such a blunt political assault against the Bush administration.

Indeed, in the aftermath of the al-Qa’ida attacks on the US of 11 September 2001, it seemed that Young had taken the side with the President and supported the steps he was taking in the so-called “war on terror”. Having written a song, “Let’s Roll”, to honour the passengers on board United Airlines’ Flight 93 who apparently fought with the hijackers and forced the plane to crash-land in rural Pennsylvania rather than letting them use it to target the White House, he announced his support for the Patriot Act. The Act, which gave law-enforcement bodies a whole range of new powers, was condemned by many campaigners as an assault on civil liberties. Young said at the time he thought the legislation was necessary.

Speaking at an awards banquet in Hollywood where he had received the Spirit of Liberty award by the liberal campaign group People for the American Way, Young announced: “To protect our freedoms it seems we’re going to have to relinquish some of our freedoms for a short period of time.” But now it appears that for whatever reason, the Canadian-born singer’s support for President Bush has run it’s course and that his latest incarnation is as a protest singer. He has joined list of musicians such as the Dixie Chicks, Lou Reed, Dave Matthews, Steve Earle and REM who have used their platforms to speak out against the war or the administration in general. His song urging that Mr Bush be impeached reportedly accuses him of “lying” and features a rap with the President’s voice set against the choir singing “flip-flop” – an accusation Mr Bush and other Republicans aimed at John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, during the 2004 election campaign.

Meanwhile the lyrics to the new album’s title track include the words: “I’m living with war right now, And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man, And on the flat screen we kill and we’re being killed again, And when the night falls I pray for peace, Try to remember peace.”

That Young would make a strong stand on a political issue is hardly “surprising;” it pretty much describes his entire career. Indeed, it was his post-9/11 stance that was a departure from the norm, not this.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. akdfjo says:

    Meanwhile the lyrics to the new album�s title track include the words: �I�m living with war right now, And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man, And on the flat screen we kill and we�re being killed again, And when the night falls I pray for peace, Try to remember peace.�

    What a wimpy Canadian! The last thing we need are immigrants like this Young guy calling for regime change in the US. Under the Patriot Act, the foreign terrorist could be captured as an enemy combatant.

    Let’s hope Bush has the guts to stop this terrorist before he causes trouble.

  2. whatever says:

    Wasn’t he a heroin addict? Sounds like he fell off the wagon.

  3. wallace skalyo says:

    all the liberal “fellow travelers” cry out for peace. BUT,—-they fail to remember that “peace” without FREEDOM means nothing!!!!!

  4. ken says:

    I’m happy that my company made the products that saved his life last year. Even though I disagree with him here, his political acumen and philosophy is akin to a pendulum, swinging left then right.

    I would ask him to remember those people I worked with, those that helped design the products that are now placed in his brain, that dies on 9/11. The easiest way to have the peace you pray for Neil is to stop those that want to kill you.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Neal always was cool…

  6. jesse tompson says:

    Drag your cowardly ass back to Canada if they will have you.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Wonder if “brave” jesse has seen any combat in Iraq…

  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Pilot, not. What has Jesse’s service in Iraq have to do with a foreign born singers unasked for opinion concerning an issue that does not concern him. Some of you idiots are too stupid to realize appeasement when dealing with ruthless dictators is not the right answer. Go to the library and have someone assist you in researching Neville Chamberlain. He once met with a famous dictator and came away proclaiming peace in our time, only to eat those words soon after having spoken them. There was only one solution to Saddam Hussein. It was to remove him, and it was done. Thank God, we will never know what the cost would have been had he remained in power.

  9. erg says:

    Thank God, we will never know what the cost would have been had he remained in power.

    Well, we saw that for 12 years. Certainly didn’t come close to half a trillion dollars, which is what this little adventure will cost us.

  10. akdfjo says:

    There was only one solution to Saddam Hussein. It was to remove him, and it was done. Thank God, we will never know what the cost would have been had he remained in power.

    Zelsdorf hits the nail on the head. People don’t seem to remember that Saadam was an immanent threat the the United States. He had WMDs and missles pointed at us. Had Bush not been so brave as to stop him in ’03, you can bet that we would be speaking Arabic right now with Uday and Qusay acting as viceroys for an Iraqi-occupied United States.

    It is because of the brilliant mind of George W. Bush and his ability to analyze the complexities of foreign affairs, miltary strategy, and diplomatic maneuverings that we are no longer under the threat of Saddam.

    Unfortunately, the evildoers do not sleep. Iraq’s Persian neighbors no believe that they can rule us–but our resolve remains steadfast. We shall soon be under the whim and influence of Ahmednijab. They have built a bomb and are in the process of devising plans for invasion. We must bombe them now, or else our country will become occupied by Iran and Farsi will be forced upon us like the plague.

  11. M. Murcek says:

    As always, only an imbecile cares what an artist thinks about anything, let alone point and say, “See, he hates Bush and he makes records, so he must be right.”


  12. Bithead says:

    And to think I had respect for him for a while.

  13. floyd says:

    “blind man running through the light of the night with the answer in his hand;c’mon down to the river of sight and you can really understand” neil, your white cane is lying in the gutter in the lane.

  14. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    My friend with the sarcasism and lower case alphabet name must not be much of a student of history. Saddam modeled himself after two historical figures, those being A. Hitler and J. Stalin. This alone gives a hint of his character. Actually, I feel no need to justify the correctness of removing Saddam from power. He had violated the cease fire that ended the first gulf war. That alone is justification. Only idiots need more.

  15. Roger says:

    Good for Neal.

  16. anjin-san says:

    I guess its a sign of how far Bush has fallen that he has only the truly ignorant left to defend him.

    I remember a few brutal Russian dictators who had real, not phantom WMD’s pointed at our country. Did we forcibly remove them from power? Nope. Is America still here? Yep.

    The world is chock full of dictators. How come we only “save” people who happen to be sitting atop oceans of oil? We certainly don’t seem to give a rats ass about anyone in Africa…

  17. Fersboo says:


  18. ticketplease says:

    Another CD “NOT TO BUY”…..

  19. McGehee says:

    Pilot, not. What has Jesse�s service in Iraq have to do with a foreign born singers unasked for opinion concerning an issue that does not concern him.

    He’s just trotting out the only answer he ever has left for anything, which is to call anyone who disagrees with him a “chickenhawk.”

    He is the inspiration, in fact, for the chickenhawk drinking game — whenever he trots it out, down a shot.

  20. matt g says:

    Not to sure how to respond to these comments seems to me like a little critique of your President pushes the buttons of some depending on your party affilation. Being a Canadian that was glad to see Saddam go I supported the war as a way of introducing freedom to the Middle East. However the complete mismanagment of the war,contracts, etc. Has turned me against this adventure. Your own Generals are calling for Bush’s head. Also never trusted Bush after the way he tried to embarass a true American hero Mr.McCain during the 2000 primarys, the republican elite decided Bush would be easier to corrupt than a real man. When the sec def(no respect at all) canned General Shinseki for protesting the lack of manpower most people could see this was wrong. The biggest problem with America is the 2 party system. Lets say your a republican you only have one choice so through think and thin some will stick by there leader no matter how much harm he’s done to your country. Canada on the other hand has the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Green Party and Bloc(Qubecios) Now thats a real democracy. Democrat/Republican both are corporate whores one fights for the little guy the other the big guy. Brillant strategy on Bushs part in aliginging himself with the religous right. Maybe some of these CHRISTIANS should do a little homework on their party and think twice in November 2006. Oh I forgot you just care about banning samesex marriage never mind your goverment just passed a bill that cut food stamps for the poor right after Katrina. I guess thats how you get the budget under control maybe you shouldn’t have cut taxes. It kinda sucks that I’m more knowledagble about your own political system that most Yanks.

    ALso if I do recall the fiasco that is Iran is all the USA’s fault. History lesson lets go back to I believe the 50’s. Iran wants to produce its own oil (state run) US and British oil companies are against this (profits) Iran is a fledling you could call it democracy. CIA helps to overthrow them installs the SHAH of Iran. (very corrupt and brutal like Saddam) Leads to the 1979 revoultion and hostage taking SHAH is overthrown our best buddy the Ayatollah is in charge. This leads to Iran sponsoring Hezbollah and a lot of the terror against the Israrelis. USA now in IRAQ looking after number ONE profits for EXXON, BP, CONACO, no WMD’s eventually you’ll stop the insurgency probably not you are in the Islamic heartland. One thing you should have learnt about people is you don’t trust lawyers but more importantly you dont trust oil people. Condi Rice, Cheney, Bush ex oil people. Oh well lots will think I’m wrong perhaps I am perhaps you need to start reading some more.

  21. Danial D. says:

    Neil Young is more of an American then Bush will ever be. I have learned that the people that support Bush are the dumbest people on the planet.
    Do any of you read and if so do you do check facts or just take Fox News word for everything without looking into what they are saying.
    FYI Iraq never had missiles that could reach the USA. They could barely reach the countries right next to them.(I was born in the U.S.)